Tuesday , 5 July 2022

Airports’ future are secure despite rapid development of UAVs-Yadudu

 

MANAGING Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN), Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu has expressed that there is huge potential in the development for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) as transport for both passenger and cargo which may futuristically reduce cost of the required infrastructure for huge airports but create multiplicity of airports in the city.

He however admitted that despite the pace the drones industry is growing coupled with huge potentials airports futures are still assured as they are still very important development facilities and economic enablers as there will always be the need to carry huge cargo and mass transport of people over a great distance at speed.

Yadudu represented by General Manager Environment, Mr. Nehemiah Auta made this known while speaking at the 2nd edition Drone Technology Conference and Exhibition ( Drone Tecx 2020) holding at the  NIGAV Centre in Lagos, on a paper titled: “The future of commercial cargo drones from the airport operators’ perspective” .

According to the FAAN helmsman, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have come to be a critical part of everyday lives simply because of its limitless potentials to demystify hitherto logistical challenges encountered in the distribution of goods from one place to another but also stated that unmanned cargo carrying aircraft although a possibility is still far

He said,” In the realm of airport development for drone as vehicles for both passenger and cargo the potential is currently being experimented as a solution for urban mobility. This is the concept of Drone ports in city. This solution will provide vital landing ports for Air Taxis or Drone carrying passengers and cargo for short haul travel. A recent development by Urban-Air Port limited called Airport One for such airports for vertical landing aircraft was lunched in Coventry United Kingdom this year, demonstrating the potential and possibility of miniature city airports.

“The success of this launch has introduced a complete new dimension to cargo, passengers and drone relationship which bring the perceptive of the airport in this case to realization. In the future to come airports operators will be looking at this potential which will reduce cost of the required infrastructure for huge airports but will have multiplicity of airports in the city.

“While this is being envisaged, unmanned cargo carrying aircraft is possibility but still far. It is therefore my conclusion that with technology the sky is just the beginning. The airport is a very important development facility and enabler of the economy, the future of airports is assured in all cases no matter which way the aircraft future develops, there will always be the need to carry huge cargo and mass transport of people over a great distance at speed and the airport will always be the takeoff and the landing place for the aircraft. It will only require adaptation to new operational guidelines, technologies and customer services requirements.

He further highlighted some of the hurdles to scale before autonomous cargo aircraft that can carry a great number of people and cargo are developed, “The full scale autonomous cargo aircraft will come with adaptation of the airport system to work with the highly sensitive sensors of UAS technology. Also the regular aircraft will also be equipped to interact effectively without accidents and incidents with unmanned system. The future is possible but work is still ongoing.

Yadudu pointed out that most aircraft manufacturers and airlines are creating UAS unit to begin to look at the future relevance of their operation visa-vis drone technology and the autonomous emphasizing that the airports’ position is not different in this regard.

“Though the airports await the regulatory directions and potential integration from world aviation bodies like ICAO, ACI and IATA, FAA etc, the possibility of the autonomous cargo operations is real and already here. DHL and other logistics support services are keenly working on the potential of delivery with drone. ”

“The delivery Drones Market is poised to grow at CAGR of 12% by 2027. Factors driving Delivery Drones Market are increased demand for drone delivery services. The main aircraft cargo market will not change significantly because autonomous only means eliminating the pilot and that will not affect the cargo market. It will only improve safety.

He said that FAAN as an agency is not shy of embracing technology, projecting the huge futuristic potential for drone technology especially with regards logistics once the regulatory environment for universal application of UAV into controlled airspace is ready.

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